Isle of Palms firefighters move couches at council member's home - WCBD-TV: News, Weather, and Sports for Charleston, SC

Isle of Palms firefighters move couches at council member's home

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Last December, Isle of Palms firefighters responded to the home of council member Barbara Bergwerf. Not for an emergency, but to move couches to a waiting u-haul trailer.

According to the incident report, a ladder truck, an engine, and battalion chief's vehicle responded, with five on-duty firefighters, to carry the two couches down the stairs of the Ocean Blvd. home.

"They do it all the time", said Bergwerf. "[It] has nothing to do with me, they would have done it for me whether I was on city council or not."

On the island, Bergwerf says they are referred to as "random acts of kindness", and said it is one of the perks of living on the Isle of Palms, not a perk of being a council member.

When asked if firefighters should be moving furniture for council members, or anyone else while on-duty, Bergwerf said, "we only have like 3,300 people on the island, and yes, we should help".

"You know, the firemen are great, they do their job, but frankly, they have a lot of down time,and if they can help, they will", Bergwerf added.

City Manager, Linda Tucker said, she is the one who offered the help of city personnel to Bergwerf, and both agree Bergwerf never asked for help from city workers.

"It's not a city council member getting special treatment, it's just the city doing what the city normally does", said Tucker.

Tucker said, city council challenged her to get her departments to provide more for the Isle of Palms residents, at no extra charge to them. She provided News 2 with a stack of reports detailing these special services, provided primarily by the department of public works. They include moving a bird bath, moving grills for a realtor, removing a deck, digging a plant from a front yard, and the list goes on.

When pressed on whether there is line at which the city will deny a special service, Tucker said there is no written policy.

"It is strictly a 'reasonableness test', Tucker said. "Obviously we're not going to pave someone's driveway on their private property, we wouldn't do that, but if it's consistent with the types of things we've done before we'll try to extend that."



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